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Thread: 12 String Mandolin

  1. #1

    Default 12 String Mandolin

    Was wasting a little time at work searching Amazon for a mandolin case. Came across a 12 string mandolin.

    Now I thought this is interesting. So how are these tuned? Are they like a guitar?
    2007 Indiana Scout
    2018 Indiana Madison Quilt Elite
    2018 Takamine GJ72CE 12 String
    2018 Takamine GD93
    1963 Gibson SG
    2016 Kala Uke
    Dean A Style Mandolin (year unknown)
    Plus a few lower end I have had for years

  2. #2
    Mando accumulator allenhopkins's Avatar
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    Default Re: 12 String Mandolin

    These instruments are often called mandriolas or tricordias. They generally are tuned like mandolins, with four courses of three strings each, GDAE low to high. Sometimes the middle string of each course is tuned an octave below the other two strings, producing a sound reminiscent of a 12-string guitar.

    The 12-string mandolin never achieved wide popularity; it's harder to play melody than the conventional 8-string, because fretting three-string courses is clumsier than fretting double-strung courses. The instruments strung with an "octave" string on each course, often have intonation issues, because strings of widely varying diameter fretted together, often intonate inaccurately in terms of maintaining the octave pitch differential (cf. tiple!).

    When strummed for chords, 12-string mandolins have a big full sound, jangle-y and "busy" sounding. The four three-string courses give the fretboard a "crowded" feel, but there's no denying that the instruments put out a lot of volume. Could be fun, but sort of a "niche" instrument, IMHO.
    Allen Hopkins
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  3. #3

    Default Re: 12 String Mandolin

    Allen,

    Thanks for explanation. It still sounds interesting though.
    2007 Indiana Scout
    2018 Indiana Madison Quilt Elite
    2018 Takamine GJ72CE 12 String
    2018 Takamine GD93
    1963 Gibson SG
    2016 Kala Uke
    Dean A Style Mandolin (year unknown)
    Plus a few lower end I have had for years

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